2018 has seen fallen heroes, major arrests, rescues, and a lot of violence. It’s a lot for one police department to tackle. After wrapping up his first year as chief, Troy Bankert says there’s a lot he hopes to turn around.
“I’m glad it’s over, 2018. We had a lot of challenges,” said Bankert.
Just days after Bankert was sworn in last year, an officer was hurt.
“I started on January 2. The first incident happened on January 18,” said Bankert.
It was the first of many incidents out of Bankert’s control.
“We had two firemen die in a collapse, and then one of our own die in the line of duty last May,” he said.
But Bankert feels he’s already off to a better start in 2019. Soon, he’ll have close to fully operational staff, ready to tackle two big challenges that lay ahead: reducing gun violence and opioid-related deaths.
“Our operational numbers now are in the 80s. By April, our numbers should increase by at least 10 percent,” said Bankert.
Bankert adds that the number of shootings in the city has gone up since last year, but all firearms related crimes have dropped.
In the second half of the year, Bankert says the department saw more anonymous tips from citizens, which ultimately led to more arrests.
“We saw a dramatic increase in the participation,” he said.
Bankert says residents can provide tips using the 411 tip app.
He also says he will be focusing on recruitment and pulling in a more diverse group of applicants to patrol the city.